The term Sriramodantam is composed of two words ‘Srirama’ and ‘udantam’ meaning ‘the story of Srirama’. Sriramodantam is a ‘laghukavyam’ (minor poetical composition) that has been in use as the first text in old Sanskrit Curriculum of Kerala for last five centuries. As per this curriculum the students were taught this text along with Amarakosa and Siddharoopam immediately after they had learnt the Sanskrit alphabets (Varnamala). This Kavya, which is a highly abridged version of “Valmiki Ramayana”, was used as a tool to teach effectively Vibhakti, Sandhi, Samasa, etc to young pupils.
There will hardly be a Sanskrit knowing person from Kerala who does not know by-heart at least a few verses of this work, which begins with the verse “श्रीपतिं प्रणिपत्याहं श्रीवत्साङ्कितवक्षसं श्रीरामोदन्तमाख्यास्ये श्रीवात्मीकिप्रकीर्त्तितम्”. Though the traditional style of teaching Sanskrit exists no more in Kerala, the ‘balakanda’ of Sriramodantam found a place in the Sanskrit text books prepared by the State board till a few decades back. This shows how significant a role this work had played in imparting basic lessons of Sanskrit to the young minds.
It is a great pity that the author of Sriramodantam is unknown. The author, in his inimitable and simple style, has narrated, in just 200 verses, the seven kandas of Ramayana that was expounded by sage Valmiki in 24000 verses.
Any suggestion for improving this translation is welcome.